React Labs Press Release, October 18, 2012
REAL-TIME SMARTPHONE POLLING APP DEBUTS DURING OCTOBER DEBATES TO THOUSANDS OF USERS
October 18, 2012
For immediate release
Contact: Philip Resnik, React Labs LLC
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland. React Labs, a new app for real-time polling, made its debut during the first presidential debate earlier this month and has been collecting data from news viewers in the DC area and thousands of college students across the country.
React Labs lets users react to an event moment by moment, giving them a greater sense of engagement with what they’re watching, while simultaneously collecting richly detailed data about their immediate, unmediated responses. In addition to presenting traditional polling questions before, during, and after the debate, the app allows people to react in real time to candidates by tapping buttons to indicate when they agree or disagree, as well as when they think someone is spinning an answer or dodging the question.
Based on technology developed by University of Maryland professor Philip Resnik, the mobile polling app being used during the October debates is the product of a collaboration between Resnik and political scientists Amber Boydstun, Matthew Pietryka, and Timothy Jurka of the University of California, Davis and Rebecca Glazier of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
“For the first time, we can bring together the immediacy of real-time reactions, the reach of smartphones, and the precision of traditional polls,” says Resnik.
React Labs has made its debut this month in a university-based national polling effort, and in a commercial effort with one of DC’s most prestigious and technologically sophisticated news networks.
Boydstun is the driving force behind React Labs: Educate, an educational program using the app in which thousands of students across the country have been responding in real time to the presidential and vice presidential debates. Among the things her team found in analysis of responses from nearly 2,300 students participating during Monday night’s debate:
Although participants tended to agree with Obama, they viewed his response to the question about the Libya embassy attack as the biggest dodge of the night.
Moderator Candy Crowley received a large burst of approval when she fact-checked Romney, saying “He did in fact, sir”, in response to Romney’s contention that Obama had not called the Benghzai attack an act of terror in his September 12 Rose Garden speech.
10% of those responding to the post-debate survey changed their expected vote choice from their pre-debate preference, 70% of them toward Obama and 30% toward Romney.
Boydstun is careful to note that these are preliminary findings based on a sample of student participants, and changes in preference can be fleeting; bearing those caveats in mind, she goes on to say, “these findings suggest that the second presidential debate may have helped sway independent voters toward Obama.”
React Labs LLC, which is commercializing the technology, has also partnered with WJLA-TV to offer ABC7/React Labs Instant Reaction to viewers in the Washington DC area. WJLA viewers across a full range of ages and political preferences have participated enthusiastically.
Justin Karp, Digital Operations Manager at WJLA, comments: “The American population has a freedom to respond and react to our political discourse like never before, and in such a contentious election year, our station aims to engage our audience in ways that have never been seen before. The partnership between ABC7 News and React Labs is benefiting and engaging our audience in an incredibly unique fashion.”
For the final presidential debate, next Monday, October 22, DC area viewers can find information on participating in ABC7/React Labs Instant Reaction at WJLA.com.
For further information
The React Labs main page is here: http://reactlabs.org.
The React Labs: Educate main page, including links to analysis results for the first three debates, is here: http://reactlabseducate.wordpress.com.
Information about ABC7/React Labs Instant Reaction can be found here: http://www.wjla.com/tag/instant-reaction.
News about React Labs can be found here: https://reactlabs.wordpress.com/press/.
For more information about React Labs please e-mail Philip Resnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.